If you've ever stood on the northwestern side of Grand Central Market, perhaps noshing on a snack purchased from one of the market's food stalls, you've likely seen pedestrians pointing up, or making train-like gestures with their hands, or simply staring in the direction of a small and beautiful entryway across Hill Street.
Those gesticulating people were probably discussing Angels Flight, a landmark of early LA and a lasting icon of Bunker Hill. The picturesque funicular has been shuttered since 2013 "due to failures in its new technology" but, even at a standstill, the up-the-hill railway still attracts attention from the sidewalk below.
And, occasionally, inside the nearby Million Dollar Theatre, which is located on Broadway next to Grand Central Market. Fans of the funicular are throwing a fundraiser on Thursday, Nov. 5, with history-minded hosts Richard Schave and Kim Cooper shedding light on how "Keeping the Lights On" at the railway is a major calling.
Also major: "M," the 1951 film noir classic, will screen at the Sid Grauman-built movie palace.
Be sure to be at the theater well ahead of when the film rolls, the better to hear some discussion on what's happening with Angels Flight and what's next. One "what's next" topic sure to be touched upon? The Angels Flight Friends and Neighbors Society has asked Mayor Garcetti for support in getting the funicular up and running again, and the mayor is now awaiting word from Metro, so expect this development to receive some attention.
Attention will also be given to the "Keep the Lights On" push, which helps the landmark's grassroots fan base keep the beautiful slice of long-ago lit and looking spiffy.
Looking consistently spiffy is no short order. Angels Flight is well over a century old, and then some; the orange-red-and-black cars, named Sinai and Olivet, made their first toot up Bunker Hill on New Year's Eve 1901.
Which means that many pedestrians, into the high thousands, have likely stood on Hill, looking up and gesticulating and pondering and discussing one of the world's most famous funiculars. And even though that funicular has been stilled, the conversation about its fate continues, both on the street below and in the offices of City Hall.
Ready to see it run again, to learn the issues surrounding its closure, and to know more about its decades of service to Angelenos looking to zip up Bunker by rail and not by foot? A ticket to the Nov. 5 event is thirty five bucks and everything goes to the Angels Flight Railway.
And should you be looking for an app to stoke your Angels Flight fever, there is one, for iPhone and Android, and it comes with oodles of original builder cred. "Chris Cherryholmes, the great, great grandson of Colonel Eddy, the man who built Angels Flight in 1901, built the app in collaboration with his son, Josue."
LA history is now. Also, does Angels Flight share a similar hue with the Golden Gate Bridge? International Orange? More fodder for the ongoing sidewalk discussions.